Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring Fever

After an unseasonal slide back into winter, followed by days and days of cloudy drizzle (we were spared the worst of the recent Nor'easter that blasted much of the Eastern seaboard), bright blue skies were back in vogue. Too bright, too blue, in fact, with very few condensed contrails from the airplanes that criss-cross our skies.
My daffodils and crocuses survived the cold temperatures for a last couple of days of glory (and photo-shoots, of course) before wilting away to deadhead heaven. But I still have several pink, white and blue hyacinths and late crocuses just starting to bloom. (Thank goodness for early winter garden clearance sales and great 'global warmed' weather to plant them in!)
M and I spent a good part of yesterday morning starting off the heirloom seeds that I hope to plant in my vegetable patch this year. Brandywine and Golden Pear tomatoes, muskmelon, snow peas, 'Triomphe de Farcy' beans, 'Chinese Giant' sweet peppers. Let's see how they fare germinating, or whether I'll cave in and replace them with the usual $1.50 half-dozen flats of Better Boy/Early Girl tomatoes/Generic peppers from Kmart.
We were serenaded by a big fat bumblebee who seems to have mistaken M's bright orange and pink outfit for a flower. I was able to persuade M to enlist Mr.Bumblebee as a good friend, who, unlike the bees, doesn't sting and just hovers around flowers for their nectar, even though her first instinct (and mine, too) was to run screaming into the house for cover.
My spinach and radishes are coming along nicely, having survived the cold snap without much fuss, protected by dollar store basins from the unseasonable snow and frost. My sole concern is whether the chipmunks are going to get them before I do.
The lawn looks thin, in comparison with our neighbors' lush green carpets. It has more moss and thatch than it should, but I dread the prospect of my husband walking around with Roundup can and sprayer/Moss control in hand. If the plan to add chemical treatments goes through,I don't think we will be treated to the sight of grackles and robins digging in our yard for worms or foraging for the 'best quality' dried grass, or squirrels and chipmunks playing 'get out of my territory, you illegal alien'. I'm hoping that sheer laziness will help at least delay, if not totally remove the threat of massive chemical infusion to 'green' our lawn.
About the inside of our residence, the less said the better. I know that I ought to get off my butt ( and an alarmingly big butt it has become, in the recent months of inactivity and working at the computer) and start the spring cleaning round. Maybe I'll have something to say about that in my next post. Till then, toodles!


Ruchira said...

Very nice piece, Sujatha. I envy your gardening enthusiasm.

I was never a great gardener but used to enjoy the activity. After setting down the garden in Houston (it was a new house) and working on it for the first four or five years, I have pretty much withdrawn and things are on autopilot. We also have a landscaper to take care of things in our rather tiny front and back yard. Our backyard in Omaha was almost the size of a soccer field. And there we used to do all the work ourselves although the growing season in Nebraska was a tiny fraction of what it is in Houston. I haven't planted a veggie garden here in some years although I have had very good luck with peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and radish in the past.

The only edible items growing in my garden now are a clump of sugarcane (very good, if we take the trouble to harvest) and a couple of lemon trees. One of the the lemon trees has a sentimental value. It is a special Bengal lemon, more rich in fragrance than its juice. My mother was very fond of this variety of lemons and grew it in our house in Delhi. I grew mine here from seeds smuggled from Delhi. My mother's lemon tree died a few years ago. But its descendant is bearing fruit in Houston.

Sujatha said...

You have a lemon tree! I'm envious, never having managed to grow one from seed (though I did try a Clementine that germinated, but sadly didn't last too long once I placed it next to a drafty window.) Again, you have the climate in Houston to maintain a longer growing period, if it weren't for the bouts of freaky weather you've been having.
Considering that my earliest brushes with gardening were confined to admiring the results, I think my mom gets quite amused by the amount of time I currently invest in my tiny vegetable patch. I'm a recreational gardener, not a serious addict like the guy who is out there writing a book about his $64/- tomato! There's just something soothing about digging around in the dirt and watching things grow, even if it doesn't always work out.

Nanda said...

Your gardening 'enthusiasm' amuses me no end...especially when I remember (oh yes, I do..though the memories may be a bit vague) you sitting on the chair in the verandah varnishing your nails while amma planted and I happily dug away in the dirt... :-)

Sujatha said...


Who's varnishing her nails now?? Not me, it's something I gave up shortly before I left school!
Time for you to try growing stuff in a pot in your apartment, then you can enjoy 'digging in the dirt' again ;)

Nanda said...

Oh..I don't need a potted plant for that...I dig enough into the dirt in this place! :P